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The Eagles: Farewell I Live From Melbourne(2005)
No synopsis for The Eagles: Farewell I Live From Melbourne.
For more about The Eagles: Farewell I Live From Melbourne and the The Eagles: Farewell I Live From Melbourne Blu-ray release, see the The Eagles: Farewell I Live From Melbourne Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on February 27, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Don Henley, Glenn Frey, Timothy B. Schmit, Joe Walsh
» See full cast & crew
The Eagles: Farewell I Live From Melbourne Blu-ray Review
Livin' it up at the Rod Laver Arena.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, February 27, 2013
It may—emphasis on may—have been "farewell", but it definitely wasn't "goodbye". In 2005 The Eagles titled their massive Melbourne, Australia performance the Farewell 1 Tour, with the clear implication being that a sequel would follow. Anyone who has followed The Eagles for any length of time will agree that it's never wise to count this band out, even if they themselves sometimes seem to hint that they are (as guitarist Joe Walsh overtly states about guys of his age in the bonus featurette included on this Blu-ray). The band, kind of like the Energizer Bunny, just keeps going and going, and against considerable odds, is arguably better than they were in their heyday of the seventies, at least insofar as this often thrilling concert reveals. What becomes apparent in just the first few songs of this almost three hour piece (recorded over several concurrent nights of performances) is just how many great Eagles songs have so firmly imprinted themselves in the public consciousness. What's even more amazing is realizing that The Eagles managed to create all of this great music on a mere pittance—only six—albums during their near decade long stint atop the American music charts. But time has actually been kind to The Eagles, mellowing out some notoriously roiling interpersonal conflicts (at least between Don Henley and Glenn Frey, if not between the band and jettisoned guitarist Don Felder) and actually improving the repartee between the band, leading to some extremely tight harmonies and in the pocket rhythm accompaniments. The Eagles were unfairly disparaged some of the time during the apex of their popularity for being a kind of "easy listening" rock band some of the time, but this bristling Melbourne concert proves that the guys are incredibly versatile. There's no denying that they prefer melody and layered harmonies to outright bombast, but there's a kick in a lot of these songs that obviously keeps a multigenerational audience on its feet (and screaming in approval) for the vast bulk of the performances, and it's a kick that is obviously shared by the band members themselves as they play and sing their way through a "greatest hits and then some" assemblage of Eagles classics.
Vocalists are only too aware of the vagaries of time, sometimes watching helplessly as ranges lower and (quite frequently) diminish, with less power and control also coming with the territory of aging. This seems to be especially true of tenors for some unknown reason, but Don Henley, who was already well into his sixties when this concert was filmed, shows few if any signs of loss. His voice still penetrates easily in its upper ranges, cutting through the massed instrumental musings of the band and remaining bright and clear. Glenn Frey, about one year younger than Henley, is also in great form. Frey tends to be somewhat more of a "crooner" than the intentionally raspy sounding Henley, and his laid back but assured style serves as a perfect compliment to his perhaps rowdier partner. The Eagles have quite a deep bench when it comes to vocals, and Timothy B. Schmit, around the same age as Henley, also is no slouch on reaching the high notes in such fare as the beautiful, Michael McDonald-esque "I Can't Tell You Why".
This is a relatively "gimmick free" concert, concentrating almost exclusively on the music without a lot of bells and whistles, other than the requisite huge projection screen backing the band and some minimal lighting effects. There are a couple of funny bits sprinkled throughout the proceedings, including a mock feud between Henley and Walsh that is perhaps meant to deflect any lingering memories of the real feud between Henley and Frey. There's also one funny use of technology with regard to Walsh that I won't spoil for those who haven't seen it, and a passing dig at Fox News' head honcho Rupert Murdoch, delivered relatively opaquely by Henley, but which becomes clear once the actual song starts. Not to be a total buzzkill, let alone a pedant, but it should be clear to any competent keyboard player that Glenn Frey is not actually playing keys, or at least playing alone, on some of the tunes, notably the intro to "Wasted" (my hunch is one of the many other keyboard players is accompanying Glenn but remains unseen due to the editing choices).
The Eagles' playlist includes:
The Eagles: Farewell I Live From Melbourne Blu-ray, Video Quality
The Eagles Farewell 1 Tour Live in Melbourne is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Rhino Music with an AVC encoded 1080i transfer in 1.78:1. This is generally an extremely sharp and well defined looking high definition presentation that is only occasionally hobbled by typical bugaboos that regularly dot these live concert outings. The interlaced presentation handles virtually all of the fast motion effortlessly, with only some extremely minor combing artifacts resulting which will probably be noticeable to those who are specifically looking for them. Some of the camera angles look directly into the aggressive upstage lighting, and in those cases there are some very minor banding and posterizing issues. Otherwise, though, this is a splendid looking outing, with abundant fine detail in the many close-ups, solid contrast and better than average shadow detail in the dimly lit areas of the stage.
The Eagles: Farewell I Live From Melbourne Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The Eagles Farewell 1 Tour Live in Melbourne features both a lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track as well as an uncompressed LPCM 2.0 stereo fold down. There are certain tradeoffs that astute listeners will notice in each of these tracks. The LPCM track tends to present the vocals in a more forward manner, which may in fact appeal to some listeners. On the other hand, the DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track has a much more fulsome midrange and low end, adding a propulsive momentum to the music but in turn tending to just slightly bury the voices on occasion. Both of these tracks offer superior fidelity, with brilliant clarity delivered throughout all frequency ranges. Dynamic range isn't huge, but there are some nice variations in volume, especially when the guys sing a cappella.
The Eagles: Farewell I Live From Melbourne Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
The Eagles: Farewell I Live From Melbourne Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
At a recent Blu-ray.com staff meeting, my musical and reviewing colleague Dr. Svet Atanasov joked that I was "required" to give Eagles Farewell 1 Tour Live From Melbourne a good review, but Svet need not have "encouraged" me in that direction, for this is certainly one of the most enjoyable live performance outings I've seen in quite a while. I was actually a bit nostalgic as the concert started up and I realized just what an incredible panoply of great tunes the Eagles have offered listeners through the years. The band has probably never gotten its due for its versatility, but sitting through this nearly three hour assemblage proves just how many different approaches they've taken through the years, albeit always with their own highly distinctive and easily identifiable style. Though there's some confusing online information about what exact supplements were included in previous editions of this title, it appears that this release has the sole feature that was included on the DVD and HD-DVD. This is an incredibly solid release all around. Highly recommended.
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